IU East Asia News
In May, President Michael A. McRobbie led an important visit to South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Over the course of the 15-day trip, McRobbie, along with David Zaret (Vice President for International Affairs) and IU First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie, met with business and government officials in order to strengthen existing partnerships and sign new agreements for cooperation and exchange with leading educational institutions in the region. The delegation also attended special receptions for incoming international IU students as well as alumni. According to McRobbie, “the visit is part of a larger outreach initiative, which aims to increase opportunities for research and teaching and to provide students with greater access to study abroad programs”. McRobbie adds “in the previous academic year, over half of the university’s 7,700 international students came from China, South Korea, and Taiwan”. Heidi Ross (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; director, EASC) draws attention to this large contingent of international students from East Asia in helping IU develop “scores of relationships with institutions in East Asia” and that they are crucial to building “an environment that is really engaged in global learning.” To see IU’s Global Engagement and Partnerships interview with Heidi go here. For further details of President Michael McRobbie’s visit to East Asia go to IU’s Global Engagement and Partnerships website.
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In April, scholars and practitioners gathered in the Indiana Memorial Union for a day-long conference titled Engaging Enemies, the seventh program in the “Historical Reconciliation and Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia” series organized by Mel Gurtov (Political Science and International Studies, Portland State University). The conference, hosted by the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute and sponsored by the East Asia Foundation, focused on questions of diplomatic engagement with North Korea and Iran, but also explored the theory of engagement in general. Citing a tendency in conflict-related literature to analyze causes, management, and resolution only after political crises have arisen, the conference aimed to move discussion toward the possibility of preventing conflicts by means of diplomatic engagement with rival or hostile states. In a series of twelve presentations, contributors investigated the meaning of engagement, its pros and cons in various scenarios, and specific cases of attempted engagement, both initiated by the United States and by other countries. The ultimate goal of the conference was to develop a strategy for engagement in general and to establish guidelines for evaluating successful and failed engagements.
The fourteenth annual Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar took place on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at Binford Elementary in Bloomington, with an estimated 1,400 children and adults attending. The first day was set aside for Bloomington-area fourth graders, while Saturday everyone, young and old, attended Family Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for international music, crafts, games, and other fun activities. The East Asian Studies Center, with help from our wonderful volunteers, hosted activities such as Korean fan making, Chinese lantern crafts, and Year of the Snake coloring. EASC volunteers, in addition to assisting with activities, also shared their experience and knowledge of East Asia with children and adults alike at the EASC table as well as at the bazaar’s World Language table. For more information, visit the Lotus Blossoms website.
Presented by the IU Bloomington International Outreach Council, students’ backpacks from Mexico, China, South Africa, Romania, Turkmenistan, Guatemala, Germany and Japan were on display at the Herman B. Wells Library from late January through February. Backpacks and their contents from the above eight countries, together with posters containing background information about each country and its education system were shown to help illustrate what being a student looks like all around the globe. EASC actively participated in this exhibit by designing posters about education systems and school lives in China and Japan.
The IU Chinese Flagship Program continued its Chinese Tidings lecture series this spring with a series of four engaging presentations. In January, Yuantao Sun (School of Education, Zhejiang University) gave a talk titled “K-12 Education in China: Observation and Thoughts.” Du Yueyan (Visiting Scholar, Jacobs School of Music; professor, Early Childhood Music Education, Nanjing Normal University) presented in February on “Traditional Music and Music Aesthetic in China.” In March, Dr. Wei-Hua Lee (Pediatrics, Anatomy and Cell Biologym, IU School of Medicine) delivered the third lecture, titled “Growing Up in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” The final lecture of the semester, “Impact of Social Changes on Life Strain and Delinquency Among Chinese Urban Adolescents” was presented by Wan-Ning Bao (Sociology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) in April.
The Chinese Tidings lecture series features both native and non-native speakers presenting entirely in Chinese and is offered to stimulate discussion on a range of topics and to foster language skills and cultural literacy. Simultaneous summary translations are displayed throughout the lectures to accommodate those with little or no Chinese proficiency.
Selma Šabanović (School of Informatics and Computing) is currently engaged in collaborative research with Takanori Shibata at the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba, Japan and Kazuyoshi Wada at Tokyo Metropolitan University (TMU) on a project exploring how people in the United States and Japan use and perceive social robots. Perhaps the most famous robot included in the project is Paro, a therapeutic robot designed by Shibata that recently became commercially available in both the United States and Japan. Modeled after a baby seal, Paro is intended to comfort people such as hospital patients with its interactive movements and sounds. In addition to studying Paro and other social robots, Šabanović’s collaborative project, which is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, lays the groundwork for long-term, cross-cultural partnerships with Japanese institutions and fosters educational experiences for students. Over the last two years, multiple groups of Šabanović’s students have had the opportunity to travel to Japan and conduct field research. To read more about Selma’s research go here.